Monday, August 24, 2009

Semakau Walk on 23 Aug 2009

It was about 3am in the morning when I received an sms, asking me if we are going ahead with the Semakau walk. It was raining cats and dogs then, and I could hear loud claps of thunder. Well, the show must go on, or rather, the walk must go on! (As a matter of fact, I was having a bad cough and sore throat, and almost lost my voice after the walk, but the show must go on since I was the coordinator).

It's a rule that we will always proceed to go to Semakau even if we are having a thunder storm, for the simple reason we have already booked the boat, and the rain may stop after we reached the island.

Fortunately, the rain stopped even before we board the boat, and we had a really good trip with a lot of good finds.

Dragonfish Sea Cucumber (Stichopus horrens)
Even before we crossed the seagrass meadow, we already found several Dragonfish Sea Cucumbers (Stichopus horrens).

Swimming Anemone (Boloceroides mcmurrichi)
We also found several Swimming Anemones (Boloceroides mcmurrichi) among the seagrasses. These sea anemones can swim by pulsating.

Synaptid Sea Cucumber
Right in the middle of the seagrass meadow, I found this Synaptid Sea Cucumber (Family Synaptidae). This individual wasn't as long as the ones we usually see though - it was only about 1m long. I have seen those longer than 2m here.

Spider Conch (Lambis lambis)
Helen (I think) found this Spider Conch (Lambis lambis) among the seagrass too. This snail has a very pretty underside. Can you see the pair of little eyes?

Sand-sifting Sea Stars (Archaster typicus)
Many of the Sand-sifting Sea Stars (Archaster typicus) were in the pseudo-copulation position. Their reproductive organs don't really meet, and they just spray their eggs and sperm into the surrounding water. The one of top is the male. It's believed that this position increases the chances of fertilisation.

Pear-shaped Moon Snail (Polinices mammilla)
I saw a narrow trail on the sand, and found this Pear-shaped Moon Snail (Polinices mammilla) at the end of the trail.

Ovum Cowrie (Cypraea ovum)
As we moved into the coral rubble area, YW found an Ovum Cowrie (Cypraea ovum) and was bringing it to me when I found another one. If you look closely, there're actually many of these pretty little snails at Semakau!

Cushion Star (Culcita novaeguineae)
I also found this juvenile Cushion Star (Culcita novaeguineae). Hopefully it will safely grow into a big adult!

Sandfish Sea Cucumber (Holothuria scabra)
At the sandier patches at the coral rubble area, we found a few Sandfish Sea Cucumbers (Holothuria scabra). This sea cucumber is the one that we can find in the restaurants. It must be properly processed to remove its toxins before it can be consumed though.

Noble Volute (Cymbiola nobilis)
This pretty snail is a Noble Volute (Cymbiola nobilis). It is a fierce hunter of other snails and clams.

Hell's Fire Sea Anemone (Actinodendron sp.)
We found 2 Hell's Fire Sea Anemones (Actinodendron sp.). This sea anemone gives very painful stings, and thus the common name.

Knobbly Sea Stars (Protoreaster nodosus)
The participants were in for a treat, as we found many Knobbly Sea Stars (Protoreaster nodosus)! Seeing these big and pretty sea stars is always the highlight of any Semakau walk!

Fluted Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa)
Semakau is one of those few places in Singapore where you can easily see the Fluted Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa).

We saw at least 3 types of flatworms today, including the one above which we have not been able to identify.

Black Phyllid Nudibranchs (Phyllidiella nigra)
I found these Black Phyllid Nudibranchs (Phyllidiella nigra) near the reef edge. Helen also found a Funeral Nudibranch (Jorunna funebris) and a Black Margined Glossodoris Nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata).

Ocellated Sea Cucumber (Stichopus ocellatus)
At the reef edge, we also managed to find the resident huge Ocellated Sea Cucumber (Stichopus ocellatus)! This sea cucumber has lots of 'eyespots' on top, which are believed to have some find of sensory functions and also help the sea cucumber to hold on to hard surfaces.

Radula Scallop (Comptopallium radula)
Not far away, I found this Radula Scallop (Comptopallium radula) under a sponge. This scallop is able to swim by flapping its shell!

Pinkish-brown Sea Cucumber
LK and gang came across this pinkish-brown sea cucumber which we still have not been able to identify.

Sea Star, Starfish
JL found this unknown sea star which was first spotted during the launch of Project Semakau!

Brittle Star
There was even a little brittle star stuck to the underside of this sea star!

Anemone Shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis)
While heading back to the secondary forest, we came across this Anemone Shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) on a Giant Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea). These shrimps usually come in pairs. Not sure what has happened to the other shrimp.

After the walk, we went for a landfill tour. As we were shot of guides who had done the tour before, I had to do it despite my sore throat. Probably that's why I totally lost my voice at the end of the day. Sigh...

But still, it was a good trip. Hope the students who came for this trip enjoyed it :)

1 comment:

chris said...

Very cool, I wish I could see clams like that where I live.